Lee Kum Kee
How To Make Char Siu? It’s All About That Sweet, Sticky Sauce

How To Make Char Siu? It’s All About That Sweet, Sticky Sauce

24 March 2022

Of all the Chinese dishes, few are as renowned, beloved and tasty as Char Siu. Sweet, sticky and succulent, this classic Cantonese sauce is traditionally used as a marinade for roast pork – but there's so much more vegetarians and meat eaters alike can do with it. So whether you’d like to cook up a barbecued classic or something a little different, here’s our guide on how to make Char Siu.

Did you know…?

Char Siu literally translates to ‘fork roasted’.


Ancient cooks in Guangdong discovered the wonders of char siu more than 3,000 years ago, when the term first appeared in the royal recipe books of the Zhou Dynasty. But while it may once have been a roast meat dish reserved for kings and queens, that’s certainly not the case today. You’re just as likely to find Char Siu flavours in home cooking as on a Michelin star menu. The secret of its success all lies in the signature marinade, and the classic Char Siu recipe consists of:


  • Maltose – or honey is often used too
  • Chinese five-spice
  • Red fermented bean curd
  • Dark soy
  • Rice wine or sherry


This creates the salty, sticky and sweet Char Siu sauce – traditionally paired with pork, but a great accompaniment to so many other incredible ingredients.

Our secret to authentic Char Siu

When it comes to how to make Char Siu, it all starts with our classic Char Siu Sauce. We’ve spent years perfecting this honey-sweet BBQ blend, made with no added flavouring, preservatives or food colouring. Our sauce is natural, authentic and easy for everyone to use at home, so it’s perfect for so many different Char Siu recipes.

Lee Kum Kee Char Siu Sauce
Lee Kum Kee Char Siu Sauce

Making it meaty:

Ping Coombes Chinatown Char Siu – or choose Ching He Huan’s cheat version to make it as easy as can be!


Top Tip: Marinade your meat in Char Siu Sauce overnight so it can really take on all those sweet, rich flavours. 


Once you’ve mastered the marinading, you can try your hand at a host of different dishes using this key ingredient -  including fusion Char Siu tacos, or pocket-sized Char Siu puffs (ideal for making the most of those leftovers.) But tasty Char Siu recipes don’t have to be all about pork! The taste works just as well on a variety of other meats and fish, so why not try…


Char Siu Bao
Char Siu Bao

Sweet, spicy and veggie:

It may have originated as a meat dish, but our Char Siu sauce is 100% vegetarian – so you can use it in any plant-based dishes you like! It’s a great way to liven up those vegetables and add a real flavour punch. We’ve used it to create mouth-watering mushrooms for our loaded Asian Baguette; jazz up a jackfruit in these small-and-mighty Mini Rotis, and as an amazing marinade for an Oven-Roasted Butternut Squash with a side of quinoa.

Whatever Char Siu recipe you want to try, LKK’s classic ingredient sauce will give you the most authentic flavour, in the easiest way! Check out our online store to stock up on the ingredients you need to create more Chinese favourites.

Asian-style Loaded Mushroom Baguette
Asian-style Loaded Mushroom Baguette
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